National Football League commissioner Roger Goodell believes Toronto would be able to support an NFL franchise, but there needs to be a state of the art stadium for the team.
Goodell rebuffed the question which insinuated Toronto was off his radar screen: well it seems you already came to that conclusion, which you couldn’t be further from the truth.
“I’m from Western New York and I spent a lot of time in Canada as a young kid. I have nothing but admiration for Toronto, I think it’s a great city. It continues to evolve, it continues to grow. It certainly could be a great city for an NFL team,” Goodell said at his state of the league address during Super Bowl week in Miami.
“The one thing, and I’ve said this openly over the years, you may not be aware of it, a stadium that is up to NFL standards is going to be a certain requirement. That is going to be an important element that’s going to have to be focused on. It’s not enough to just have a great city, which you have, you have to have the facility also.”
That’s the giant question mark. Without construction of a new stadium, ever seeing an NFL team in Toronto would be a long shot. The Rogers Centre could be refurbished but the league owners likely wouldn’t approve. The more prudent approach and investment would be to put up a brand new building.
Toronto has the third-biggest population of any city in North America — the largest by far without an NFL franchise — and it’s one of only three places to host an NFL regular season game outside of the United States, London and Mexico City being the others.
Every other one of the major pro sports leagues which cross into the U.S. has a professional team in Toronto. The Raptors in the NBA, Maple Leafs in the NHL, Blue Jays in the MLB and Toronto FC in the MLS. Of course there is a Canadian Football League team in Toronto, the Argos, but the attendance and following in the city are behind the rest of the other pro franchises in T.O.
The Buffalo Bills have a strong following in Southern Ontario, but the Bills in Toronto series failed to meeting expectations in many aspects including filling the seats. If there was an NFL team Toronto could call their own it would be much different.
There have been various groups and people who have looked into bringing or establishing an NFL franchise in Toronto, but until a stadium is constructed which meets the standard, it won’t happen. Unless Drake has God’s Plan for an NFL team in The Six.